Caldwell Tanks builds for concentrated solar energy plant

The $2 billion Solana Project is the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant and the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing energy. The molten salt storage tanks are an integral part of the 250 MW plant and are used to store heat energy from the sun. The plant will create enough electricity to power 70,000 households.

"Caldwell Tanks is proud to be a part of the Solana Solar Power Plant Project," said John Craft, Caldwell vice-president for energy and industrial. "We have been providing thermal energy storage tanks for optimizing fossil power plants and demand side management programs for over 20 years. This project allows Caldwell to expand our products into the renewable energy side of generation." The tanks will be built at Caldwell facilities in Newnan and Louisville, Ky.

Abengoa Solar announced that it has finalized a $1.45 billion financing to build Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant. This plant, with a total investment of around $2 Billion, will generate 250 net megawatts (MW).

Santiago Seage, CEO of Abengoa Solar stated “Solana is the first large scale CSP plant for Abengoa Solar in the U.S. and will be a key milestone for our development in this country as it allows us to strengthen our relationships with the local community as well as with the state and federal public authorities that have contributed notably to this project”. Abengoa Solar signed a power purchase agreement with Arizona Public Service Co.(NYSE: PNW), Arizona’s largest electric utility, to buy the energy produced by Solana for a period of 30 years.

Following the Conditional Commitment announced by President Obama last July, the Department of Energy (DOE), through the Loan Programs Office, has issued a loan guarantee to support this project.

“I want to recognize the leadership of the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office in making Solana possible through this loan guarantee. Without DOE’s determination and commitment to solar energy this project would have never become a reality” said Seage.

“The plant will be located 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, near Gila Bend, Arizona. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will prevent the emission of 475,000 tons of CO2 per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant. The construction and operation of Solana will bring many economic and environmental benefits to Arizona and will support the nation’s goals for energy independence through a “green” economy.

The Solana project is the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing the energy it generates. Solana will include six hours of molten salt thermal energy storage capability, which will allow energy to be dispatched as needed during cloudy periods and after sunset. With this capability, Solana will be able to generate electricity well into the evening to help meet the summer peak demand for air conditioning.

The plant’s construction and operation will produce much-needed tax income for local communities and the state of Arizona, and support the nation’s goals for energy independence and developing a clean energy economy.

Abengoa Solar estimates that the Solana project will create between 1,600 to 1,700 new construction jobs and over 85 permanent jobs. Approximately 98 percent of the jobs created by the project will be American jobs, primarily in Arizona, in addition to neighboring states. Furthermore, around 75% of the equipment and supplies required to build Solana will be manufactured in the U.S.

Additionally a mirror manufacturing factory will be built in Surprise, Arizona to supply the mirrors needed for the Solana project. The mirror factory will employ almost 180 people, adding to the number of direct jobs created by Solana. This new facility will provide Arizona with the foundation upon which to expand its solar energy technology manufacturing capabilities and to support future CSP projects.

In late 2009 Abengoa Solar signed a power purchase agreement in California to supply electricity generated by a 250 MW net CSP trough plant located in the Mojave Desert, 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The company also has several projects under development in the Southwest.